Illustration photo – British musician Roger Waters performed on April 27, 2018 in Prague's O2 Arena.
Berlin/London – Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters claims that his controversial costume, which has him under investigation in Germany, is actually anti-fascist. In a statement today, the 79-year-old musician said that at a concert in Berlin last week, he wore a black coat with a red armband to express his rejection of fascism and prejudice. But German police are investigating Waters on suspicion of spreading hatred against a certain religious, national or ethnic group, because the costume resembled the uniform worn by officers of the Nazi organization SS.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Waters said aspects of his performance at Berlin's Mercedes-Benz Arena were “quite clearly” a statement against fascism, injustice and prejudice. “Attempts to portray these elements as something else are false and politically motivated,” Waters wrote.
Footage from the May 17 concert shows the famous singer and bassist wearing a long balloon with red shoulder pads and also holding a mockup of a machine gun that Waters appears to have fired into the audience.
Waters wears a long black coat and a red armband during the song In The Flesh from the album The Wall. British television SkyNews reports that the singer's fans are defending him, saying that at concerts he is based on a scene from the movie The Wall, which was based on the famous record. The film features a character who imagines himself to be a fascist dictator. On the red ribbon is not a swastika, but crossed hammers. He also performed in this costume on Wednesday at a concert in Prague.
Waters recalled that portraying a “crazed fascist demagogue” has been a part of his performance since The Wall. Users of social networks also defend Waters by saying that the skit imitates satirical scenes from the film and that the singer wore the same costume in previous concerts.
“All my life I spoke out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I saw them,” the singer wrote, recalling that his parents also fought against Nazism during World War II. “Regardless of the consequences of the attacks against me, I will continue to condemn the injustice and all those who commit it,” Waters said.
Germany has strict laws regarding the use of Nazi symbols, punishable by up to three years in prison. However, exceptions apply to their use for artistic or educational reasons.
Waters has already attracted criticism several times in the past due to his anti-Semitic statements and gestures. At the same time, the leftist-oriented artist sharply defines himself against wars, armaments and the brutality of state forces, especially in songs from his solo period. In connection with the war in Ukraine, he had previously called on the participating countries to “try to negotiate peace and not to escalate the situation”. He also criticized the West for supplying weapons to Ukraine and NATO for what he believed to be provoking Russia.
The Frankfurt City Hall wanted to cancel this musician's concert scheduled for Sunday, but the local administrative court did not allow it. The management of Munich also made it clear that they do not want Waters to perform in the Bavarian capital, but that they do not have the legal tools to prevent him from doing so.